This June I’d like to showcase some great posts about misconceptions often seen in stories. Research can be hard, so we’ve done the grunt work for you!
Good research in writing is absolutely essential to me because even though I write about immortals and dead elder gods and paranormal entities, I like realism in my stories, dammit.
These are abnormal things happening in a normal world and the little, but accurate, details accentuate that contrast between what is real and what isn’t. If the world doesn’t seem real because the demographics, geography, tools, or physics are off, it can take a reader out of the story. Immersion can be important to pacing, so anything that takes your reader out of the story will ruin the “…Just one more chapter” effect you’re going for.
People, even mistakenly, take information from books. It’s how we learn about the world when we can’t or haven’t yet experienced it ourselves. Even in fantasies, even in anything fiction, if the reader can find something similar to their world, they’ll apply it subconsciously as learned information.
They trust you did your research as the author. Misinformation from the media we consume is spread and impacts people’s’ lives because we don’t remember where we learn information, just what was said. Even if it’s wrong.
If you write about a character being chased by a black bear and they escape by climbing a tree, you think that person isn’t going to try to climb a tree to escape a black bear? What other information did they have? They trusted you.
But if you have the character learn, “Oh wait! Black bears will totally climb the tree after you!”, then very likely that person will NOT climb the tree. And hopefully survive anyway.
…Why yes I did get chased by a black bear once, why do you ask?
So please enjoy this month’s collection of misinformation to avoid as necessary in your writing, and perhaps some suggestions on how to do it better.